Necessity is what is bound
to happen when you're on the ground,
and what you may not think is fair,
if you're aloft, and in the air,
or coast on rivers, seas or streams.
Necessity drowns drifting dreams,
so be forewarned that dreams, when spurned,
may make you feel that you've been burned,
and though ethereal, may smell
more sulfurous than flesh in hell,
for while it leads to Hades, Lethe
can be as flammable as ether.
Flames will destroy dreams fast as water,
drowning them, though the pain is shorter.
They singe first, then they scorch and sear,
and are not quenched by any tear.
Hot flames can in a moment dry
dreams water-wet or make them fry;
while dampness slowly rots delusions,
heat can eliminate illusions.
Dreams let you in the darkness float,
imagining you're in a boat,
like Noah, but can not prevent
the Flood a vengeful God has sent,
because His anger will erupt
whenever He thinks you're corrupt.
At least that how the priests explain
the rain that always floods the plain
just when it seems that life is pleasant,
to tell you that it really isn't.
You think you cruise on land, on air,
to areas where there is no where,
but when necessity cries: "When! "
there is no there more, and no then.
Before you hear the champagne pop
it says that now is here, to stop
the waking-dream that fantasizes
so plastically, in many guises.
It tells you, when you see the bubbles,
itt's bound to cause you many troubles,
since from the dreams you cannot borrow
more time, for there'll be no tomorrow.
This poem was inspired not by "morning after" feelings, returning to Los Angeles after the wedding of Karin and Absalom in Stamford, Connecticut on December 22nd,1996. Rather, it was inspired by a segment on Ananke, which is the Greek for "Necessity" and is eloquently discussed by Roberto Calasso in his book The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.
This is the last of the poems which I wrote between Monday December 16th and today, Tuesday December 24th, en route to New York, in New York and returning to LA. The first was Blind Men Walking and the last was Necessity. Any connection between the beginning and the end is fortuitous, I believe.
Rereading this poem on 6/12/12 I was reminded of what Engels said about necessity, quoted in a poem by Ian Hamilton Finlay, cited by Gerald Mangan ("Al fresco lyricist, " TLS,6/8/12) in "Mansie Considers the Sea in the Manner of Hugh McFiarmaid:
The sea, I think, is lazy,
It just obeys the moon.
All the same I remember what Engels said:
"Freedom is the consciousness of necessity.
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Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
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- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- If, Rudyard Kipling
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
- Fire and Ice, Robert Frost
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost